Getting more traffic to your website is often the initial focus for most small businesses. Writing regular content, optimising your pages for search engines, actively participating in social media channels and investing in pay per click advertising are all common activities to attract visitors to your site. However, if those visitors don’t stay on your site, read your content, click your links and ultimately buy your products or services then much of your efforts in marketing your website could be wasted.  Once a visitor lands on your page you only have a few seconds to capture their attention.

What does website engagement mean?

Website engagement means that a user has performed an action on your page and not just landed on it and then moved away to another website immediately. There are lots of ways that a user might ‘engage’ with your website such as:

Scrolling

The smallest level of engagement might be to scroll. If the user has clicked on an article link this is probably the most likely way they will first engage as they will scroll down to read more.

Browsing

Ultimately we would like the user to visit more than one page so in the case of an article the hope would be that they click another title, browse blog categories or explore other areas of the website away from the blog such as looking at information about your products and services. Having a clear menu structure and using internal anchor links in your text can encourage your visitors to click through to further content.

Watching Videos

Videos are a great way to inform, entertain and engage your website visitors. Adding links and calls to action in your videos to encourage users to visit other pages on your site is also a great way to maintain their interest.

Interactive Chat

You could either have a real person or a chatbot which pops up in a window and encourages the user to ask questions and provide information to you about their requirements and intention. This offers a more personal service to the website visitor and can stop them from leaving your site if they don’t immediately see the information they are looking for. You can use chat conversation to provide further internal links and help the customer to quickly navigate to the relevant page they require.

Signing up to a mailing list

Your goal may be to collect email addresses to increase your mailing list and improve future sales potential, however, it is unlikely that the person visiting your website had the intention to sign up to yet another email list when they clicked your advert or link. This means that the act of signing up is unlikely to be the only interaction with your website. You need to have engaged them first with interesting or informative content which convinces them that they want to receive more content from you in the future without having to remember to visit your website.

Completing an enquiry form

Again, it is unlikely that this was the visitor’s primary intention and therefore you need to have made it easy for them to browse around first and find out what you do so that their interest is at a level where they want to submit an enquiry and be contacted by your sales team.

Making a purchase.

If your site is e-commerce the ultimate goal is for the customer to make a purchase. But what steps might they take in order to come to the decision that they want to buy from you? How many people do you think will go straight to purchasing when they land on an e-commerce site? You need to build a relationship with the customer first and gain their trust. They are likely to have browsed through your product and information pages first or even read more about your business before they feel comfortable to progress to the checkout stage.

Posting comments

After reading an article, some visitors may leave a comment or reply to an existing comment. As we all know, this can often be in the form of spam where the visitor is just wanting to promote their own links, however if managed properly and encouraged the comments section of your blogs can be a great place to build relationships with your visitors, answer their questions, listen to their feedback and learn about their opinions.

How to track and measure website engagement.

Google Analytics is a great place to start. One of the first indicators of engagement levels is the bounce rate. This indicates the number of visitors who left your site without any interaction or engagement and shows you how many visitors you might be losing straight away. It is useful to look at the bounce rate for different pages as it will usually vary quite a lot across different areas of your site and can help you to find the pages that don’t perform as well as others.

If your bounce rate in the range of 25% to 40% then you are doing very well. 41% to 55% is around the average for most websites. 56 to 70 per cent is higher than average and it is worth looking at why and making steps to improve this. A bounce rate of over 70 per cent is disappointing and could mean there is something wrong and you need to take steps to fix it and engage your customers in different ways.

Another indicator of engagement is the number of pages that people have visited. If the average is between 1 and 2 then you could perhaps be doing more to encourage visitors to click more links and browse around your site more.

Finally look at the amount of time that visitors spend on your website. The average visit duration can be widely different for different types of websites so you need to think about how long you think you want your users to stay. Have a look at your overall average session duration. Is it less than a minute? Would you like them to stay for longer?

There are also lots of indicators which can help you to understand how your users engage with your site. Heatmap tools can help you to understand how your users behave, this can include which links are most popular, where people hover with their mouse as well as more complex analysis such as eye-tracking.

Another option is to use focus groups made up of target user groups to gain real qualitative feedback from your desired audience. This can be especially beneficial if you show different users alternative versions of pages to determine which are the most popular in terms of layout and content.

How can you increase website engagement?

First, you need to understand why people visit your site in the first place. Are they looking for an answer to a question, want to make a purchase or are looking to be entertained. If they are coming from a search result then your meta description and title need to give a clear indication of what the page they are about to visit will offer so they are not disappointed when they click the link and arrive.

Once you have a clear understanding of your users you need to offer content that will engage their attention and make them want to stay on the page or visit more pages within your website.

User requirements and trends can change over time. Devices, screen sizes and general internet usage changes over time too so it is also important to continually monitor the behaviour of your website visitors and make amendments which are responsive to their current needs.

If you would like help to understand your website analytics and make changes to improve engagement Zeun Digital can help with a range of consultancy and marketing services. Get in touch to find out more.